Building plan rejected

The City’s Planning Appeals Advisory Panel (PAAP) has rejected an application for a development in Sea Point.

The applicant, through Andrew Pratt Town Planning, made an application for permanent departures at Erf 401, on the corner of Arthurs and Graham roads, Sea Point.

Initially, the applicant planned to demolish a three-storey guest house on Arthurs Road and construct a new eight-storey boarding house.

The proposed ground storey was to contain parking for 13 vehicles, while level 2 was to house a communal lounge, dining and kitchen areas, as well as the ancillary office component, and levels 3 to 8, 21 separate rooms, which would be rented out to lodgers.

The application was rejected in 2016 by the Municipal Tribunal Planning and the applicant submitted a revised plan which reduced the building height from eight to six storeys.

The MPT stated that among others, the proposed reduced parking and revised parking layout would cause parking congestion and traffic safety problems in the surrounding streets.

The applicant argued that the development of the property with a new multi-storied boarding house would have a positive impact on the character of the area from a built form perspective.

They said the case officer kept on insinuating that they wanted to build a hotel or even block of flats.

“This is not the case. It’s a bit ridiculous to say that as there are double beds, now we are proposing a hotel. It’s a bit ridiculous to say that backpackers stay longer than people using a hotel therefore a greater need for on-site parking. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Residents objected to the application raising concerns about traffic, parking, congestion, noise and heightened crime that increased tourists and people in general bring to Sea Point.

They said the area is largely residential and the rights of residents will be negatively affected by the commercial development.

Resident Francois Nel, stated: “It is also noted that the applicant has been refused on numerous previous occasions dating back as far as 2016, but keeps asking for major departures from council’s by-laws. It is clear that the applicant has no interest in nor respect for the City’s laws, and no consideration for the way the departures would impact the residents, infrastructure, other businesses or existing problems in the area discussed in detail during the many years this application has been tabled and rejected in all its various forms.”

Sharing these sentiments, another resident stated that the amount of objections and years-long, wide-spread opposition to this development, showed that the development was desirable to no one else than the applicant himself.

The applicant argued that the chairperson of the MPT tribunal overwhelmingly supported the application and recommended approval. “He was of the strong opinion that this development, a boarding house, will fit in perfectly in this location and would provide much needed accommodation for travellers not being able to afford to stay in hotels or guesthouses.”

The PAAP said the statement was of little relevance since the decision was based on a vote by tribunal members which showed that the application was refused by a majority vote.